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Senator Baldwin to Health Secretary Price at Hearing: Why Do You Want to Take Away Coverage and Increase Costs for Wisconsinites Struggling with Opioid Addiction?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today questioned Health Secretary Tom Price at a hearing about partisan health care legislation that would end guaranteed health care protections, force families to pay more for less care, and make it harder to fight the opioid crisis Wisconsin.  

The opioid epidemic continues to grow at an alarming pace in Wisconsin. This weekend, during Vice President Pence’s visit to promote health care repeal, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner announced they had responded to 12 probable drug overdoses in the past 72 hours.

“I have traveled across Wisconsin and seen the opioid and heroin epidemic up close, and your legislation will make things worse, not better,” said Senator Baldwin. “If addressing opioids is a top priority, why do you want to take away coverage and increase costs for people struggling with addiction?”

The House-passed legislation would cut and cap Medicaid, dramatically reducing the ability of state and local governments and health care providers to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic. The combination of unprecedented cuts to Medicaid, which pays for 25% of all annual drug treatment spending in the United States, and the end of mandatory coverage for substance use disorder treatment as an essential health benefit would severely limit drug treatment for many individuals and drastically weaken the ability of communities to fight back against the opioid crisis.

Senator Baldwin has worked across party lines to increase investments in local prevention, treatment and recovery efforts in Wisconsin. She has also held roundtables on the opioid, heroin and illicit drug use epidemic in Green Bay, La Crosse, Wausau, Viroqua, Ashland, Superior, Eau Claire, Arlington, Waukesha and Milwaukee.

Video of Senator Baldwin’s Questions for Health Secretary Price